Cornelius Merklee

Cornelius Merklee

Cornelius Merklee, born between 1855 and 1857 in New York, was the son of John Merklee and Elizabeth Ann (Burnett) Merklee.1

I have not located a record for Cornelius in the 1880 U.S. Census, but he apppears in late 19th century city directories. The Brooklyn directory for 1889-1890 indicates that Cornelius was employed as a printer and that his home was located at 376 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.2 The 1897 Lain's City Directory for Brooklyn has a listing for Cornelius Merklee, a printer, living at 69 Van Voorhis Street in Brooklyn, New York.3

The Merklee family had moved to 1055 Decatur Street, Brooklyn, NY, by the time the 1900 U.S. Census was taken.4 The family consisted of Cornelius and Josephine (Aube) Merklee, and their daughter Florence Merklee. The census taker wrote the family surname as "Merkle," leaving off the final letter "e." This census reveals quite a lot about the family members. We learn that the couple had been married for 25 years, which would place the date of the event at about 1874 or 1875. Cornelius' birth is given as May 1855, and Josephine was born in March 1857. Florence, now 21, was born in June of 1879. Josephine Merklee had given birth to three children, but by April of 1900 only Florence was still alive. Cornelius is employed as a machinist, and neither Josephine nor Florence are working. Peter Aube, Josephine's father, is also in the household at this time.5 Widowed, he is 80 years of age, having been born in September 1819 in Pennsylvania, where his parents were also born.

In 1910, Cornelius is living with his wife Josephine, his daughter Florence E. (Merklee) Delaney, and his son-in-law William M. Delaney, at 629 East 28th Street, Brooklyn, NY.6 The census indicates that Cornelius' trade or profession was "printer" and that the nature of the business was a "printing house." At the time this census was taken in April 1910, Cornelius is supposedly 53 and Josephine is 52. The couple had been married for 36 years, which would indicate that that they were married about 1874. Josephine Merklee was the mother of three children, but only one child -- Florence -- was still alive when the census was taken in April 1910.

Cornelius and Josephine are found in the 1920 U.S. Census living at 2127 _______ [can't decipher name] Avenue in Brooklyn.7 Cornelius, now supposedly 63, is still employed as a printer and the nature of the business is recorded as "paper" (perhaps a newspaper). Josephine is also 63 years of age in this census, which was taken on January 2, 1920.

By 1930, Cornelius and Josephine Merlee had left Brooklyn and were residing on the opposite coast at 866 Partridge Road, Menlo Park, San Mateo County, California.8 Cornelius appears to have been retired since the census lists his occupation as "none." Both individuals are supposedly only 65 years old, which is clearly erroneous. The census indicates that they became married when each of them was 18 years of age, which is reasonably consistent with the marriage year derived from the 1900 and 1910 census data.

Cornelius died on May 1, 1935, probably in Menlo Park, CA.9

1 While the 1900 U.S. Census indicates that Cornelius Merklee (spelled as "Merkle") was born in May of 1855, the ages given for him in the 1910) and 1920 U.S. Census returns ((age 53 and 63 respectively) would seem to point to a birth in 1857. Until a birth certificate is found, the year of his birth remain in the range from about 1855 to about 1857.
2 1889-90 Brooklyn Directory, Lain & Co., Brooklyn, NY, 1890. A transcripton of this directory is available online via The directory does not specify whether it was 3rd Street or 3rd Avenue. The 1880 U.S. Census, however, gives us a clue. In that census, Cornelius' father, John Merklee, is listed as living at 376 3rd Street. Therefore, it's likely that the directory reference is to 3rd Street versus 3rd Avenue.
3 1897-98 Brooklyn Directory, Lain & Co., Brooklyn, NY, 1898. A transcribed version of the directory is available (as of February 2010) on the "Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page" at
4 1900 U.S. Census - T623 Roll 1067 ED 522 Ward 28 Page 17B Brooklyn, NY. The surname is written in this census as "Merkle."
5 Peter Aube is incorrectly indexed in (when researched February 2010) as Peter Ante for the 1900 U.S. Census. The second letter of his surname ("u") does look a bit like the letter "n" on the census sheet, which accounts for the incorrect indexing.
6 1910 U.S. Census - T624 Roll 985 ED 998 Ward 32 Sheet 7B Brooklyn, NY. Note: The index has Cornelius and Josephine under the surname "Merkler" for the 1910 census. Also, their son-in-law's and married daughter's surname is incorrectly written on the census sheet as "Delany" rather than Delaney. Thus, both of them can be found in indexing under Delany.
7 In January of 1920, Cornelius and Josephine Merklee were living by themselves in Brooklyn, NY, as shown in the 1920 U.S. Census - T625 Roll 1178 ED 1340 AD 21 Sheet 1A Brooklyn, NY. Note: The index has Cornelius and Jospehine under the surname "Merkler" for the 1920 census.
8 1930 U.S. Census - T626 Roll 217 ED 43 Sup Dist 10 Sheet 18B, Menlo Park, San Mateo County, California.
9 Obituary for Cornelius Merklee, Palo Alto Times, May 2, 1935.

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Page created: February 14, 2010